No Dogs Allowed

by Bill Wallace
Reviewed date: 2009 Aug 29
214 pages
cover art

Who doesn't love a cute puppy? Eleven-year-old Kristine, that's who. She's still grieving from the loss of her beloved horse Dandy, but her parents surprise her with a new puppy for her birthday. She names the dog Mattie, but refuses to have anything to do with him.

Kristine struggles with the usual sixth-grade woes: stupid boys calling her names on the bus, a neighbor boy mooning over her, worrying about her grandpa's heart problems and whether her baby sister's colic might be something serious. Add to that the stress of losing her horse Dandy, and a new puppy she doesn't want, and you have one angst-ridden preteen.

Everything comes to a head one day when the school secretary gives a note after school that says: "Baby to hospital in city. Have catch bus to grandparents." Kristine worries about her baby sister while she rides the bus to her grandparents' house. When she arrives, she stops worrying about her baby sister and begins to worry about her grandpa: nobody is home, the door is open, and there is cookie dough sitting out. Clearly someone has left in a big hurry. Did grandpa have a heart attack?

No. Turns out grandma hit her head and had to get stitches. She left with grandpa but they didn't leave a note. No problem. And baby sister? She went to the city for some tests, and it turns out she's just a healthy--but colicky--baby. But poor Kristine doesn't know this because she ran out into the middle of a field and collapsed from anxiety.

But good news! The neighbor kid (the one who was mooning) came over, let the puppy out, and followed the puppy to Kristine. She's found! Yay!

Personally, I thought No Dogs Allowed was a silly, sappy, predictable, poorly-written book. But I'm wrong. My eleven-year-old step-daughter says it's the best book ever and it made her cry. Who am I to argue with that kind of recommendation? No Dogs Allowed is a winner in this house.

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